Montana: An Uncommon Land

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University of Oklahoma Press, Mar 1, 1984 - History - 288 pages
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Perhaps once in a generation it is possible for a historian to reinterpret the long sweep of an area and a period in our history. K. Ross Toole has chosen Montana for this purpose, and the brilliant success of his achievement must be apparent to all who read these pages.

He has consciously avoided a systematic presentation of the history of this "uncommon land," Instead, he has chosen to put the great and many of the smaller but significant episodes of a century and a half into new perspective. The record, in its colorful and romantic aspects, stretches from the days of Lewis and Clark; and in its more recent aspects, from the subjugation of the Indian to the predominance of big mining and timber enterprises. The resulting portrait is sharply drawn by a man who knows not only how to interpret the remote and recent past but how to write with great effect.

Montana is best remembered by most Americans as the state in which the Indian played his last dramatic role with the annihilation of General George Armstrong Custer. But it was also the area in which the fur trade had its roots; where the sheepherders and the cattlemen vied with each other for the right to graze the land; where the "honyockers" tried-and often failed to master the land and the seasons; where copper interests have played a powerful role in politics and in the lives of the people; and where, only recently, the oil industry has followed the boom-and-bust cycle so well known in the state.

This story of Montana points up particularly the position which is and has been occupied by the state in relation to the nation as a whole. 

  

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Review: Montana: An Uncommon Land

User Review  - Woody - Goodreads

Re-read this book that I once read for an inspiring history class at U. of Montana taught by the author. This is a marvelous book about the mining barons, the unscrupulous politicians and ... Read full review

Contents

The Montana Pattern
3
The Land and Its First Penetration
11
The eastern Bad Lands following page
13
Mountain view from Bigfork Montana
17
Three Forks headwaters of the Missouri
31
Trappers Posts and Priests
40
AssiniboinCree attack on the Blackfeet
45
Fort Union Montana facing page
54
A beef herd in the Bad Lands following page
141
Sheep were sheared by hand facing page
154
Butte to Paris and Return
167
The Fort Owen lumber mill in 1865
182
Shortsighted policies left empty towns and silent sawmills
182
The War of the Copper Kings
186
Anaconda Neversweat and Mountain View mines
189
Sound and FuryAnd One Small Tax Reform
211

Gold
64
Homesteaders arrive in the Flathead Valley
82
Politics
95
Contour strip cropping
102
The Indian and the Military
115
Major General George Armstrong Custer U S Army
126
The Economy Evolves
139
William Andrews Clark facing page
214
The Honyocker
228
The Montana Heritage
243
Selected Bibliography
259
Index
270
Copyright

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About the author (1984)

K. Ross Toole is the editor with Merrill G. Burlingame of History of Montana and with J. W. Smurr of Essays on the History of Montana and the Northwest. A native of Montana, he has received degrees from the universities of Montana and California, from the latter of which he received his Ph. D. He is director of the Museum of the City of New York.

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